Monday, November 14, 2011
Help Me Howard: Took my Number
Your phone number belongs to you or does it belong to the phone company? And they can take it anytime they want? Good questions, and when one woman's phone number was given to someone else, its why she called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser for some answers.
WSVN -- Billy Crystal said, "Its better to look good than to feel good."
Betty Griner: "I just got out of the hospital."
Betty Griner looks great but feels terrible.
Betty Griner: "I just had the slurred speech and the disorientation and the vision was gone."
Fortunately, when Betty realized she was having a stroke she called a friend who rushed over. Shes doing better, but good thing her phone was working that day.
Betty Griner: "She was calling me and she kept telling me I'm trying to call you but your line says your disconnected."
Recently Bettys phone has been messed up and when a friend called to check on her recovery, a lady answered two miles away.
Betty Griner: "She started getting routed to this Rosario, and she goes 'Well I'm trying to dial my girlfriend, what number I'm I calling' and Rosario told her my number, and that's how it all started."
Betty says she always pays her phone bills on time, but her phone number had been given to another woman.
Betty Griner: "And I said 'Rosario who gave you the number?' 'AT& T yea AT&T gave me your number.'"
Betty has her phone number thru Comcast, when she complained to both companies her phone started working sort of.
Betty Griner: "My sister lives in Plantation she can call me."
But she says sometimes her phone doesn't ring at all when friends call her.
Betty Griner: "And she's tried to call me from different buildings, phone numbers and different apartments and it all gets routed to Rosario."
It's frustrating for Betty not the ideal situation when you are recovering from a stroke.
Betty Griner: "Yes Im not supposed to be under any stress. You know after the stroke he said 'No stress try to stay calm and everything.'"
But fighting to get her phone number back has not had a calming effect and its not helping the woman who has her number either.
Betty Griner: "I would like to see Rosario get a number that works, get my number to be my number again."
Well Howard, do you own your phone number or can a phone company take it and give it to someone else even if you pay your bill on time?
Howard Finkelstein: "Nowhere in the law does it say that you own your phone number, but the law does say that no-one can take it from you as long as you pay your bill on time. And you can even take your phone number with you when you change from one phone company to another."
I called AT&T in the afternoon, by the next morning Bettys phone was working fine. I dont think we deserve credit, I think AT& T was on the verge of correcting the problem and it turns out, no-one gave Bettys number away.
An AT&T spokesperson told me it was a simple mistake, that the woman requested her phone be connected and accidentally gave Bettys number as her own number bottom line everyone is happy.
Betty Griner: "And today all the lines are fixed. I'm amazed, truly amazed."
Betty is happy and can now focus on recovery rather than whether or not her phone will ring.
Betty Griner: "And now we can actually get in touch with each other again. Thank you, thank you Patrick Fraser and Help me Howard thank you."
Patrick Fraser: "If a phone company takes your number away while you are up to date on payments, the agency to contact is the FCC. They have control over transferring phone numbers. If you miss a payment, after 90 days your number can be given to someone else. Fortunately, Bettys problem was a minor mistake that was easily corrected.
Feel like someone has your number? Wanna hang up on 'em? Dial us up, hopefully when you get thru, you wont feel disconnected.
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